Judge Clears Path for Karma the Husky to Go to North Carolina Sanctuary

An Orange County animal control officials consider Karma "vicious."
An Orange County animal control officials consider Karma "vicious."
Wolf Mountain Sanctuary

UPDATE NO. 3, SEPT. 30, 12:05 P.M.: Orange County Superior Court Judge Corey S. Cramin today overturned his previous euthanization ruling so Karma the husky mix can be sent to a wolf sanctuary in North Carolina.

"Despite the nomenclature of 'menacing' or 'vicious' dogs, the court is actually addressing irresponsible pet ownership," Cramin says in his ruling reported by City News Service (CNS). "Karma is as much a victim as the people and pets who were harmed by Karma." Attorney Christine Garcia, who represents Karma's owners Joshua and Tiffany Ogle, wanted the pet returned to them but conceded, "if that's not possible we would like the dog to live out the rest of her life happy in a sanctuary." Garcia claims to have papers proving Karma is a purebred Siberian Husky, all of whom have wolf ancestry. "In fact, every dog is going to have some wolf in him, even a beagle," she said. But perhaps a sanctuary would be a better environment for the pooch. Karma was first impounded in May when the Ogles were arrested in a domestic violence dispute, and the couple's four children--ranging in age from infant to 8 years old--were placed at the Orangewood Children's Home, according to Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairman Todd Spitzer. The county has a "side agreement" with Judge Cramin Full Moon Farms that Karma cannot be returned to the Ogles, Spitzer says. Also, if sanctuary officials deem the dog acceptable for adoption by a new family that the placement must be approved by Orange County officials, he added. "We've gone from death, to adoption, to possible reunification with a family, which is as good a karma as you can have," said Spitzer (see what he did there?). But Josh Ogle says he considers Karma a service animal and that his federal disability rights are being infringed upon with the dog's removal. Karma helps him with the post-traumatic stress disorder he suffered in a home-invasion attack on his daughter, according to Ogle, who adds the dog is trained to search rooms. Ogle concedes police were called to his home for a "disturbance of the peace" because of `"raised voices" between him and his wife, adding that he has been in court frequently in recent weeks trying to win back custody of his children from a foster family. Tiffany Ogle was due in court today in Fullerton on misdemeanor corporal injury on a spouse, assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm, child abuse and endangerment, being under the influence of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance. Josh Ogle pleaded guilty in May to misdemeanor false representing himself to a police officer, which got him 20 days in jail. Another 32 days were tagged on after he pleaded guilty in June to misdemeanor resisting arrest, falsely representing himself to an officer and assault. Despite wanting Karma back, Ogle is pleased with today's ruling. "I'm just happy her life was spared," he told CNS. "Our first and foremost concern was getting her out of the pound. This is a great win today."

UPDATE NO. 2, SEPT. 29, 7 A.M.: A divided Orange County Board of Supervisors voted to ask a judge whether Karma the husky mix dog can be sent to a North Carolina sanctuary instead of to her death. Board Chairman Todd Spitzer, who last week could not get a second to a motion to send Karma to Wolf Mountain Sanctuary in Lucerne Valley, was joined by supervisors Lisa Bartlett and Michelle Steele in voting to ask Orange County Superior Court Judge Corey S. Cramin on Wednesday to let the four-year-old dog go to Full Moon Farm, a wolf sanctuary in North Carolina. Cramin previously ruled in favor of the recommendation by OC Animal Care Director Jennifer Hawkins to have the animal euthanized. Supervisors Andrew Do and Shawn Nelson, who has opposed sparing Karma because it ignores the expertise of Hawkins and the judge's order, voted against moving the dog to North Carolina. Spitzer contends the board's latest decision is not meant to overrule Hawkins' ruling but to simply find a home for Karma.

UPDATE NO. 1, SEPT. 23, 6:30 A.M.: A last-minute attempt by Chairman Todd Spitzer to stop the planned euthanizing of Karma fell on the deaf ears of his Orange County Board of Supervisors colleagues on Tuesday, which clears the way for OC Animal Care to--despite its name--kill the husky mix. Spitzer's motion ... ahem ... died when no other board member would second his motion to discuss turning Karma over to the Wolf Mountain Sanctuary in Lucerne Valley. Ignoring Spitzer's plea was a no brainer for Supervisor Shawn Nelson, who pointed out an Orange County judge and OC Animal Care leadership favored putting the dog down. Spitzer had spent the meeting grilling veterinarian and OC Animal Care Director Jennifer Hawkins over that stance, noting that Karma had been "neglected and not fed" before getting loose and hunting down two cats--the official basis for having the dog deemed "vicious" even though no harm came to humans. But Nelson also criticized Spitzer for arguing Karma is essentially a Husky breed with "wolf lineage" and not a wolf-dog hybrid--but he wants to place the animal in a wolf sanctuary. "I thought your argument is it's not a wolf," Nelson said. "Why not go to the Chihuahua sanctuary?'' Talk about vicious!

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ORIGINAL POST, SEPT. 17, 6:04 A.M.: More than 60,000 people have signed an online petition aimed at saving a husky mix named Karma from being euthanized by OC Animal Care, which has deemed the registered therapy dog dangerous.

"Karma, a young, healthy, sweet Husky dog, was taken by Orange County Animal Care on May 25th and has received an order by a Judge to be executed," reads the Care2 plea for support mounted by Wolf Mountain Sanctuary of Lucerne Valley.

"Her owners were arrested over a domestic dispute and taken into custody. Karma was impounded. Family members immediately started calling OC Animal Care to try to get her released to them. One of the officers stated she could not be released because someone called in and described the dog as looking like a wolf, and if she is part wolf she would be destroyed."

Click here to see the petition.

County shelter officials tell the Orange County Register that test results from UC Davis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory indicate Karma had either a wolf grandparent or great-grandparent.

"As there are no rabies vaccines approved for wolves or wolf hybrids, a wolf hybrid dog that has been declared vicious would be in constant violation of its vicious dog restrictions," Dr. Jennifer Hawkins, chief veterinarian and director of OC Animal Care, reportedly informed the Santa Ana daily. "In the past the agency has worked to place wolf dogs with appropriate rescue groups; however, not in instances where the animal has displayed aggressive behavior."

Karma killed two cats in 2012 after roaming off the Anaheim property of owner Josh Ogle, whose dog has helped him deal with the effects of PTSD.

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!


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